Fellow:Gabriel Conners

From University Innovation Fellows
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Serving as UIF Since: Spring 2015

School: Illinois Institute of Technology
What he does now: UIGuide, Univeristy Innovation Fellows
What that means: He facilitates the on-boarding, design training, team bonding, leadership development, and self-reflection of University Innovation Fellows. As a pioneer of the first generation of UIGuides, he is laying the foundation for how future guides will distribute the function of this global fellowship of change agents.

Gabe 2018.jpeg

Contact him about: creative writing, coffee shops, culture and community development, policy analysis, program design and evaluation, divergent thoughts

Email: G@hawk.iit.edu
Phone: (312) 434-9260


Gabe is a University Innovation Fellow, graduating in the summer of 2018 from Illinois Institute of Technology. With backgrounds in coffee, guest engagement, peer leadership, and now social and economic development policy, he is a renaissance man of community building.


When he arrived at Illinois Tech in 2014, he was pursuing a thesis of “Creativity as Currency,” convinced that the status quo economic structures at the turn of the 21st century were going to need more relevant and accessible ways of generating and exchanging value.


Over the next four years, Gabe operated as a change agent mandated by the UIF Manifesto, working with the College of Human Sciences; Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion; Residence and Greek Life; Office of Campus Life; Office of Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives; President’s Student Advisory Council, Student Government Association, Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, Engineers Without Borders, and the Entrepreneurship Academy. Throughout these collaborations, he experimented in and developed deeper understandings of how relationship development and creative encouragement can be used to develop community.


When he came in to Illinois Tech, he thought his challenge was to build resource networks to empower communities to sustainably develop themselves. He learned over time that he was making a host of assumptions, and the problem reaches deeper: communities must first have the liberty to design themselves, to discover their intent and bring it to life.


This revelation has inspired Gabe’s latest personal and professional quest: to prototype a new (for him) manifestation of democracy and identity as grounded in the creative rights of people—wherein the creative heart of each person is acknowledged in equality and recognized as deserving of full opportunity to thrive in creative expression, building on the foundations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He sees one application as an improved model for civic education, where active citizenship involves ensuring those in the community have the freedom and resources to design.


When he isn’t musing on social, economic, and political system reconfigurations, you can find Gabe sauntering among the trees and high-rises of Chicago’s urban landscape, taking moments to ask strangers “what they are about in life.” He has a passion for local-roasted espresso, the communal spaces of coffee shops, and good climbing trees. He’ll go for Vivaldi, Mozart, and most musical playlists—Hamilton and Les Misérables FTW.

Related Links

Illinois Tech Campus Overview


Illinois Tech Student Priorities


Business Model Canvas


Illinois Tech Innovation Fellows





Related links